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Mexico loses top warrior against drug cartels

The Americas Post - Mexican drug cartels have one less enemy to worry about. Photo Credit: AP

Mexican Interior Secretary Francisco Blake Mora, point man for that nation’s ongoing war against violent drug cartels, died Friday when his helicopter crashed route to a meeting of judicial officials.  He was 45.

Blake Mora was President Felipe Calderon’s sword bearer in the bloody military and law-enforcement push against traffickers, frequently traveling to violence-racked cities to meet with besieged state and local security officials.

For many Mexicans, he symbolized the government’s unyielding attitude against the drug lords, repeated promising to keep up the fight instead of backing down to traffickers.  He often promised to reinforce troops and federal police presence in violent areas, and not leave before gang members there were arrested.  Several high profile arrests in just the last few days seemed to show the success of his tactics.

“Organized crime, in its desperation, resorts to committing atrocities that we can’t and shouldn’t tolerate as a government and as a society,” Blake Mora said  more than 100 bodies were discovered in mass graves near the U.S. border.

He responded with a five-point initiative to investigate the crimes and to increase security, including federal monitoring of buses like those used by the migrant victims.

Blake Mora also coordinated the government response to natural disasters such as an oil pipeline fire that destroyed parts of the central city of San Martin Texmelucan last year, killing at least 28 people.  He introduced a new national identity card for youths under 18, with modern digitized fingerprints and iris images to prevent criminals from producing false IDs.

Educated as a lawyer, Blake Mora served as a federal congressman and as a local legislator from 2000 to 2007, when he was named interior secretary for Baja California.   In July 2010 he was promoted to the national position he held until his death, second only to the president.

His predecessor, Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino, died similarly in a 2008 Mexico City plane crash that was determined to be due to pilot error.  The cause of this one is under investigation.